Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to host meeting of International Council of Museums in September

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On January 4, it was learned that the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located in Naka Ward, will host the off-site meeting involving remembrance and handing down memories of the victims of wars and other public crimes, as part of the General Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), which will be held in Kyoto in September. The conference is called ICOM Kyoto 2019, a large-scale international conference that will take place in Japan for the first time as a result of the Japanese government’s efforts to bring international conferences to this nation. Those attending the conference are scheduled to visit the Peace Memorial Museum’s main building, which is set to reopen in April. Museum officials believe this will be a good opportunity to share the museum’s new exhibition space with the participants of the conference and strengthen cooperation with other museums in foreign nations.

The general conference will be held from September 1 through 7. Kyoto will be the main venue for the event, and around 3,000 people from 141 nations and regions are expected to attend and take part. According to a person involved, the meeting of the International Committee for Memorial Museums in Remembrance of the Victims of Public Crimes (ICMEMO), one of ICOM’s specialty committees, will be convened at the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima. As the museum has drawn international attention since the visit in May 2016 by Barack Obama, then the president of the United States, ICMEMO representatives asked that the meeting for the committee be held in Hiroshima, the A-bombed city.

ICMEMO addresses remembrance and conveying memories of the victims of public crimes such as wars, terrorist attacks, and racial discrimination policies, and is also engaged in peace education efforts. During the second half of the conference period, the museum experts from across the world will move from Kyoto to Hiroshima, tour the museum, and hold discussions on the committee’s activities. The meeting plan includes a lecture by the vice director of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, a museum located at the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York. Opening this session to the public is also being considered.

The Peace Memorial Museum is renovating the main building so that the new exhibition space can focus on displays of actual A-bombed items in order to convey the real conditions of the atomic bombing, including artifacts of the mobilized students who were killed in the U.S. A-bomb attack. On April 25, a few days before Japan’s Golden Week holidays begin, visitors to the museum will be able to see all the exhibits in the museum, including those in the east building. The museum also intends to put more emphasis on sharing information about the museum with the people of other nations.

Recently, because the museum has been seeking to strengthen its partnerships with foreign museums that have a focus on war, in order to hold more A-bomb exhibitions overseas, staff members hope to make the most of this opportunity to serve as a host venue for the international conference.


International Council of Museums (ICOM)
ICOM is the largest international non-governmental organization involving museums. It was established in 1946 with the aim of supporting the growth of museums. Today, about 37,000 museum professionals from 141 nations and areas are part of ICOM, which also has 30 international committees for various specialties. The ICOM General Conference is held once every three years, and ICOM KYOTO 2019 will be the 25th general conference. ICOM Japan and Japanese government offices such as the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Japan Tourism Agency conducted a campaign to host the conference because they saw this as an opportunity for Japan to share information on Japanese culture and history. In 2015, the formal decision was made to hold the conference in Kyoto. The theme of the conference is “Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition.”

(Originally published on January 5, 2019)